Hearts court battle: France U-turn means clubs are relegated after all

Amiens and Toulouse had their demotion suspended by French court but now they face drop

French club Amiens' bid to avoid relegation to Ligue 2 looks to have failed.
French club Amiens' bid to avoid relegation to Ligue 2 looks to have failed.

Any hopes Hearts had of using the example of France in their bid to have their relegation overturned appear to have been dashed.

Amiens and Toulouse went to court to contest the decision to demote them when the French season was ended early.

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France’s top flight and second tier were suspended in March and then cancelled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic and, with a points-per-game system used, Amiens and Toulouse were relegated.

That relegation was subsequently suspended by the State Council, France’s administrative court, opening up the possibility of an expanded 22-team Ligue 1 for 2020-21, but after a review, the French Football League (LFP) announced on Tuesday the 20-team format would be retained.

And a statement from the LFP on Friday confirmed Amiens and Toulouse had been relegated from Ligue 1, with Lorient and Lens promoted, while the new season is set to start on August 22.

The statement said: “At a meeting on June 26 and after taking note of the decisions of the LFP General Assembly of June 23 and the Federal Assembly of June 26, the LFP Board of Directors has relegated Amiens SC and Toulouse FC to Ligue 2 and confirmed the promotion to Ligue 1 of FC Lorient and RC Lens.

“The first day of matches of the 2020-21 season is scheduled for the weekend of August 22 and 23.”

Hearts and Partick Thistle have joined forces in a legal challenge against the SPFL after they were relegated from the Premiership and Championship, respectively, when the Scottish season was ended early.

The initial hearing was due to take place at the Court of Session on Tuesday but has now been postponed until Wednesday.

Both clubs are trying to have their relegations overturned. Should that fail, they are claiming £8 million and £2m respectively in compensation.

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